# The Critical Path John R. Baker Attorney at Law 1-800-447-1985 Photos by USDA NRCS.

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The Critical Path John R. Baker Attorney at Law 1-800-447-1985 jrbaker@iastate.edu Photos by USDA NRCS

The Critical Path Method Analyzes a complex project Identifies necessary resources Focuses on the essential activities Prioritizes activities Schedules and monitors progress Calculates the time for completion Provides a graphic view of the plan

Activities Sequential activities are dependent on other activities being first completed and must be completed. -Each must be completed, or near completion, before starting the next activity in the sequence. EXAMPLE: Planting a crop –EXAMPLE: Planting a crop – Parallel activities are not dependent on completing a previous activity. EXAMPLE: Making a land paymentEXAMPLE: Making a land payment

Estimating the Time Needed for an Activity It is difficult to estimate the length of time for a new activity and normal to underestimate the time High priority activities must be carried before immediate activities There will be unexpected or unscheduled high priority work There will be: -Accidents and/or emergencies, Meetings, Holidays, Sickness, Break downs in equipment, Delays, Interruptions, Rejections due to quality or quantity (If it can go wrong it will and at the most inconvenient time.) Develop a systematic approach to include these factors Rely on your experience

Methodology List all activities in plan: The context will determine if an activity is parallel or sequential. Activity ______________________________________ Start date ____________Time to completion ________ Sequential & dependent upon ____________________ Who is responsible for the activity _________________ How will progress be reported?____________________ To whom will progress be reported ________________

Select the graph paper with the appropriate time periods needed to complete the plan

Copy the Activities in the Appropriate Time Periods Start with the activities with the earliest start dates Draw and label each activity as an arrow that ends with a box Remember to denote whether the activity is sequential or parallel

Scheduling Activities Remember to schedule sequential activities so they are carried out in the proper sequence Remember to scheduled parallel activities so they do not interfere with the sequential activities

Prepare a Final Copy Time is marked out across top of the chart Activities are drawn as arrows ending with boxes The length and positions of the arrows show the start date and duration of the activity

The Critical Path is the longest sequence of sequential activities leading to the completion of the plan. Any delay of in the start or completion of an activity on the critical path will delay the completion of the whole plan… or The time allowed for future sequential activities will need to be shortened.

Critical Path Method Chart Weeks 123456789101112131415161718 Sequential ------------------------Parallel --------------------------

Critical Path Method Chart Weeks 123456789101112131415161718 Sequential ------------------------Parallel -------------------------- The Critical Path

Presented by: John R. Baker Attorney at Law jrbaker@iastate.edu 1-800-447-1985 Beginning Farmer Center www.extension.iastate.edu/bfc/ 877.BFC.1999

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